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🏆 Petrosian - Huebner Candidates Quarterfinal (1971)

Chessgames.com Chess Event Description
Played in Seville, Spain, May 13th - 23rd 1971. Their only previous game was ... [more]

Player: Robert Huebner

 page 1 of 1; 7 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Huebner vs Petrosian ½-½411971Petrosian - Huebner Candidates QuarterfinalB10 Caro-Kann
2. Petrosian vs Huebner ½-½421971Petrosian - Huebner Candidates QuarterfinalD58 Queen's Gambit Declined, Tartakower (Makagonov-Bondarevsky) Syst
3. Huebner vs Petrosian ½-½281971Petrosian - Huebner Candidates QuarterfinalB86 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack
4. Petrosian vs Huebner  ½-½241971Petrosian - Huebner Candidates QuarterfinalD55 Queen's Gambit Declined
5. Huebner vs Petrosian  ½-½141971Petrosian - Huebner Candidates QuarterfinalB50 Sicilian
6. Petrosian vs Huebner ½-½151971Petrosian - Huebner Candidates QuarterfinalD53 Queen's Gambit Declined
7. Huebner vs Petrosian 0-1401971Petrosian - Huebner Candidates QuarterfinalB82 Sicilian, Scheveningen
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Huebner wins | Huebner loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-05-15  Petrosianic: <"It would take phenomenal talent, nerves of steel and great experience to attempt to defeat the former champion twice in three games...young Huebner has no such qualities...His only consolation is that Huebner achieved an honourable result in a difficult creative dispute, although he is 20 years younger than his opponent". 16>

Well, wait a minute. Hold everything. Who says that 2 victories would even have been necessary? It was 1 victory to tie, and then what would have happened in the event of a 5-5 tie? I don't know what the tiebreak rules for the 1971 Candidates were, but I believe for 1974 they were literally a coin flip, with no overtime play. It's hard to be sure, since no Candidates Match ever ended tied until 1980.

Mar-05-15  Petrosianic: So the question (from another forum) is whether Huebner missed a win in Game 7. Apparently Petrosian offered a draw on Move 19 and Huebner offered on on Move 24 (both refused).

One of the notes on the Game 7 page says:

<Larry Evans says that Huebner withdrew because he overlooked a winning move in this game. But then, he misspells the man's name...>

The link seems to be down, but apparently it said:

<In the seventh game Hubner overlooked a winning move, became demoralized after he saw his mistake, lost, burst into tears, withdrew from the match and flew home to Germany.">

I don't know if it was Evans said this, but looking at the game again, the blunder in question was 39. Qc2?? in Game 7, which lost a piece. (39. Rb4 would have been equal, but not winning). So either Evans or someone else misremembered it.

Mar-06-15  Howard: A thorough analysis of this game starting from roughly the 25th move is given in Marin's excellent book Learn From the Legends.

In it, Marin states that at one point Huebner certainly had the better position but Marin doesn't mention any "forced win" that Huebner may have missed. Thus, Evans was almost certainly wrong---if he indeed claimed what he allegedly did.

Mar-06-15  Petrosianic: I think Huebner is better early on (around Move 20 or earlier), but Black is forcing things from the exchange sacrifice onwards. In fact, Black might have been won at some point, but it's nearly even at the end (although Black is still a smidge better).

Whether it was Evans or somebody else, they almost certainly told the story wrong. I think you'd be very hard pressed to find one single move in this game that Huebner regretted more than 39. Qc2.

Mar-09-15  Howard: It was probably a bit unsporting for Huebner to prematurely resign the match though......but on the other hand, he "topped" himself in 1980 but doing likewise against Korchnoi.

Still remember the jolt I got in December, 1980 when I opened the NYT one morning to read.....that Huebner had just resigned the Candidates finals !

Mar-09-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Huebner's full account of why he jumped ship is here:

Robert Huebner

Mar-09-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  tamar: This match gives a clue to why Petrosian may have played the match against Fischer the way he did.

The quiet interlude of games 4, 5 and 6 rattled Huebner, and when he blundered in game 7, it confirmed in Petrosian's mind that he could get opponents to self destruct if he could weather their early storms.

But whereas the short draws made Huebner nervous, as he was undecided how hard to press, Fischer's psychology was the opposite.

He viewed as weakness Petrosian draws in games 3,4 and 5 of their match, which turned out to be the case, as Petrosian's play deteriorated when forced to play one long game after another.

Mar-09-15  Petrosianic: Fischer and Petrosian, each in their own very different ways, both had confidence problems. That's one of the things that makes them both interesting.

One reason it was so different is that they had different goals. Fischer's goal was to be a champ and set himself above everyone else. Petrosian's goal was to be a scientist and prove which moves were correct and which were incorrect. Incorrect moves had to be punished, in order to prove that they were incorrect. I'm guessing that after the utter chaos of World War II he tried to find order on the board that was missing in real life, but that's just armchair psychology. I'm not sure if he'd have become champion if he didn't have a wife with a personality more like Fischer's, pushing him to win, win, win.

Actually, if you compare Game 7 of this match, it's quite similar to a lot of Fischer wins. White is under pressure most of the game, and eventually just snaps under it. How many Fischer games have you seen where his opponent finally just goes crazy and plays some outrageous move in a difficult game? But with Fischer this would have happened in Game 1. With Petrosian it's more glacial.

Mar-09-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: <Petrosianic.....I don't know what the tiebreak rules for the 1971 Candidates were, but I believe for 1974 they were literally a coin flip, with no overtime play. It's hard to be sure, since no Candidates Match ever ended tied until 1980.>

That was clearly not the case: see Spassky - Hort Candidates Quarterfinal (1977), which went into overtime.

Mar-09-15  Petrosianic: You're right, Spassky-Hort did go into overtime. I meant no match ENDED in a tie until 1980, but didn't say it very clearly.

The first three series were Best of 10 matches and Best of 12 for the finals. 1974 was Best of 16 or 3 wins for the Quarterfinals. Best of 20 or 4 wins for the Semifinals. Best of 24 or 5 wins for the finals. I'm pretty sure I read in one of the CL&R reports that if the match ended up tied, it would be decided by a coin flip. There was no mention of an overtime period, but maybe the article was just remiss.

Portisch-Spassky 1980 was decided by who won the most with Black, but we didn't get to see what would have happened if that had been equal. Smyslov-Huebner was decided on a roulette spin (basically the same as a coin flip), but both players had one with White, so we don't know if they had the same rules as Portisch-Spassky II had.

So, what were the tiebreak rules in 1971? Was there an overtime period? Petrosian's 1 win came with Black, but Huebner had two chances in the last 3 games to win with Black also. I assume that if he won one game only, he would have had a chance to win the match randomly, without winning a second game.

Mar-10-15  Howard: I'm almost sure that during the 1974
Karpov-Korchnoi "world championship" match, if the match was tied after 24 games, then a coin toss would decide the winner.
Mar-10-15  BadKnight: Anything chess-related (Rapid, blitz, armagadden, chess 960) is better than a coin flip. Thank god the days are gone when the whim of the champion/sponsor would decide the challenger. Things are not ideal, but definitely better than before.
Mar-10-15  Lt.Surena: Petrosian was at peace with himeself because he could afford it as the winner of 2 world championships in a row.

What else was there to prove? He was the very best of his era. No chess player alive had his accomplishments.

Mar-10-15  Howard: Admittedly, I've never been crazy about coin flips or rouellette wheels being used to break ties, but then they are obviously less nerve-racking than blitz games !

The 1980 Portisch-Spassky tie-break (whoever won the most with Black), was an interesting idea, though. It meant that during the course of the 10-game match, the two players would have the chance to manipulate the tiebreak in his favor.

Portisch certainly did just that ! He won the first game of the match....with Black ! Spassky won the ninth game...with White. Most of us know what happened after that.

Mar-10-15  Petrosianic: <I'm almost sure that during the 1974 Karpov-Korchnoi "world championship" match, if the match was tied after 24 games, then a coin toss would decide the winner.>

I heard that stated offhandedly somewhere too, but who knows. Karpov had won one game with Black. If Korchnoi had won Game 23, and had all of his wins with White, maybe Karpov would have won on tiebreak without a coin flip. Just because Portisch-Spassky II is the only match that was decided that way doesn't mean it was the only match where it was in force.

One thing I've noticed about Candidates coverage is that they do not like to talk about the tiebreak rules unless it's absolutely necessary. I can see why.

Mar-10-15  Olavi: <<I'm almost sure that during the 1974 Karpov-Korchnoi "world championship" match, if the match was tied after 24 games, then a coin toss would decide the winner.>

In the same cycle Petrosian-Portisch went into additional games.

Petrosian - Portisch Candidates Quarterfinal (1974)

Mar-10-15  Petrosianic: <In the same cycle Petrosian-Portisch went into additional games.>

No, it didn't. The rules in the quarterfinals were Best of 16 or 3 victories. All four of the quarterfinals were decided by the winner getting the three wins before the Best of 16 threshold was reached.

Mar-10-15  Olavi: Yes, I was mistaken.
Mar-10-15  Petrosianic: <Most of us know what happened after that.>

I know what happened, but I'm not sure why. After beating Portisch in 1977, Spassky showed VERY litle interest in winning this match.

After losing Game 1, Spassky drew with his next three Whites in 14 moves, 25 moves and 20 moves. It was like Kasparov against Kramnik, only worse. Then in his last White, in Game 9, he finally exerted himself, and won, to tie the score.

But then in the overtime period, he drew with White in an embarrassing 17 moves. In Game 14, with his back up against the wall, he finally exerted himself again, took the game 77 moves, but couldn't pull out the win this time, and went down to "defeat" in one of the most half-hearted efforts in Candidates history. I'd like to have seen him win, but he didn't deserve it. It's one thing playing like that when the score is tied, but to do it when you're losing, and to play the whole match that way. If Spassky didn't feel like going through the Candidates wringer again, he could have given up his sport to Hort, Mecking or Larsen, any of whom would have been glad to take it. Well, Mecking wouldn't, he was ill, but Hort or Larsen would have been glad.

Jul-21-15
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: When Hübner shouted that he wanted a different playing room the organizers just smiled and nodded.
Jun-20-17  Sally Simpson: This is one of the best pages on Chess Games. Good work User: Chessical and User: Hesam7

I have a wee piece of trivia regarding this match.

At no time in the first 6 games did Petrosian place Huebner's King in check., (perhaps taking the 'safety first strategy' a bit too far.)

And then in the very last move of the very last game Huebner vs Petrosian, 1971 Petrosian plays his one and only check.

Petrosian has just played 40...Bf6-e5+


click for larger view

...and Huebner resigns the game and the match,

Jun-20-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <Sally Simpson: ...At no time in the first 6 games did Petrosian place Huebner's King in check., (perhaps taking the 'safety first strategy' a bit too far.)>

That is a very unusual stat!

Jun-20-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  Retireborn: Always Don't Check, it Might Not be Mate?
Jun-21-17
Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <SallySimpson> That odd fact - how did you know it ? - reminds me of an oddity from the wonderful world of cricket. (Scots and Irish are famous for either loving cricket madly or detesting it like skates on ice.)

England toured Australia in 1970/71 and played 6 full Tests. Another Test was abandoned. But not a single Australian batsman was out LBW in the whole series. You'd normally expect one or two in each innings.

In all Tests both umpires were Australian.

Jun-21-17  Sally Simpson: Hi offramp,

I was looking at an OLD B.C.M and stumbled across it in the 'Quotes and Queries' section. Always a source of interesting trivia.

No checks at all until the very last move of the match! You could not make it up.

(The search is now on for the checkless match.....which is not a match between two non-Czechoslovakian players.)

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